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Spiritual Matters
Will you influence or be influenced?

December 04, 2013

This past week, we celebrated the holiday we call Thanksgiving Day.

For many, this is the day to get well-nourished in order to have the strength for Black Friday. The deals on Black Friday are so enticing that people will stay up all night and camp outside their favorite store to catch the early specials.

The retailers are so excited about the success of Black Friday that they decided to start even earlier, actually opening up their doors on Thanksgiving!

Friday night, I drove by the mall and the parking lot was full. The retailers have found a way to get themselves more in the black for the year. I have already heard complaints from many who say that this has infringed on the holiday; however, those complainers will most likely be the people watching football on their flat screen, high-definition television that they bought at a sale on another day.

Whereas for many, Thanksgiving is the day to see their favorite team score a touchdown; for others, scoring the big deal will bring the greater excitement.

America is motivated by two cultural forces. The first is the culture of our founding fathers and early pioneers, the other being "pop" culture. Pop culture represents the trends promoted through the media and entertainment world.

Thanksgiving, as a holiday, comes from our basic culture, founded by hardworking pioneers who committed their strength to the endeavor of founding a nation; but ultimately gave glory to God for its success.

Pop culture represents our pursuit of pleasure, whereas our basic culture has always been the vehicle that made pleasure a possibility.

As a nation, we must be very careful to recognize the different influences and how we allow ourselves to be motivated. History has proven that people, as a general society, must be informed and led in order to reach the highest levels of achievement.

These same two things have also motivated societies to go in the wrong direction and perform acts of violence and destruction with great consequence.

For America, our strength throughout history has come from people motivated by higher motivations than human desire. Human desire needs to be motivated in the proper way in order to achieve the best of life.

This requires a higher source outside the human condition. This can only come through a belief and faith in the Almighty God.

The Church in America has always been influential, because we have not been afraid to incorporate popular culture into our plan of action.

There have been three great awakenings, or religious revivals, that have profoundly impacted our history. These awakenings are even noted in secular studies of our history. These revivals often used popular music and speaking styles to reach the masses of people.

Unfortunately, oftentimes, these moves eventually succumbed to the influence of culture and lost their effectiveness. I am seeing the same thing happening in The Church today. This is why I believe that The Church needs to recognize where our source of authority comes from. Our voice must come from the authority of God, and we need to recognize the need our nation and people have to be influenced by God.

The Scripture declares, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." God alone gives us the path of life! As Christians, and as The Church, we can all use whatever we desire for our purpose—we just need to remember that these things are not our purpose. Will you walk at a higher level fulfilling your eternal purpose?

The Rev. Loren Covarrubias is pastor of Mt. Zion Church